Are you planning a trip overseas? There are some things you need to know before you travel outside of the country.
Documents, Health, and Safety
The first thing you will want to do is make sure you have all of your documents ready. Traveling abroad requires a passport, and you will want to apply for your passport early. Once you receive your passport, make sure to sign it and fill out the emergency information located inside. It is a good idea to make extra copies of your passport and leave a copy, as well as a copy of your itinerary, with a friend in case of an emergency. You may want to take a copy to keep in a safe place in case you misplace the original. Upload and password protect a picture of your passport to an easily accessible online account.
Next, check the CDC website can assist in learning of health precautions you should take before traveling. This website gives information on dietary restrictions you may want to consider while visiting. As well as what vaccines you will need before you leave. Your healthcare provider assists you in getting any required immunizations. You will also need to check your prescriptions and get any refills that run out before you return.
Remember to call your health insurance company to check your international coverage. They may offer supplemental insurance to assist you while abroad. Getting insurance through a third party may be a better option for your medical and traveling needs. Compare prices and coverage for several places and then decide what best fits your needs.
You will also want to register with your embassy will assist officials in locating you and ensuring your safety in case of an emergency or other problem. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program online, a free program run by the U.S. government to alert you if there are any family emergencies at home and update you of crises in the area where you are traveling.
Contact Your Post Office
There are several options for mail when you are on your trip. You can contact the USPS and have them hold your mail for up to 30 days for free, or you can temporarily change your address to that of a peer and have someone else handle your mail until you return. To do this, you need to give the USPS at least a 14-day notice, and it can be done online or by going into one of their many branches, such as the Harrisburg post office.
Another route you could go is to open a PO Box and have all your mail delivered there until you return unless you have a neighbor willing to check your mail at home and hold it for you until you return. Either way, do not let your mail pile up while you are gone.
Money and Credit Cards
Look up the monetary conversion before you leave and understand the exchange rates. Contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know you are traveling abroad. If you do not, they will likely place a hold on your account when you try to make a purchase in another country. Be sure to see if the country you are visiting has an entrance or exit fee that is not already covered. These fees could range from $25 to $200.
Credit cards are preferred when traveling because they often offer a better exchange rate and points that can be used toward account credit or future traveling. Although they can be the best option, especially with large purchases, make sure you can use your cards internationally. Some cards may not be accepted in some countries due to more secure chip-and-PIN technology, and fewer businesses abroad are accepting the outdated magnetic-strip cards.
Debit cards often have reasonable exchange rates and are accepted at most ATMs all over the world. They allow you to withdraw the local currency making exchanging your money quick and easy. You may not be able to use them to make in-store purchases, but it may be worth it.
You will want to keep some cash with you. Make sure you don’t carry too much due to safety concerns. Carrying cash can be a safety issue, and if it gets lost or stolen, there is little that can be done to help you. You may want to consider Traveler’s cheques and prepaid cards. These are a secure alternative to cash and can be replaced quickly if lost or stolen.
Do Local Research
Before you head out on your trip overseas, you should have an idea of what you want to see and do. Look to see if there are any events, festivals, ceremonies, or natural events are taking place in the city you are visiting. This way, you can plan ahead and buy tickets online and skip long lines and wait times. Also, you might be able to find exclusive deals by buying tickets in advance.
It would help if you looked into buying a good guidebook. Guidebooks will include maps, details, and advice on places, food, events, and festivals that you may want to visit. Instead of searching the internet, guidebooks have a comprehensive collection of everything you need to know about the city you’re visiting.
Before you leave the country, you will want to download travel apps. This will help you to avoid roaming charges or other fees your wireless carrier might charge you. Travel apps are a great resource when visiting a place, you’ve never been to before.
Airports, Luggage, and Packing
The Global Entry Program is for pre-approved, low-risk travelers who wish to save time during airport security checks. The program is available at more than 42 airports in the U.S., and nine other countries are in the program. To be eligible for the program, you cannot have criminal convictions or charges, warrants, customs/immigration violations, or agriculture relations. You must also provide proof that you are low risk.
After you are accepted, you will go to a program airport Global Entry kiosk and provide fingerprints. You will electronically submit a customs declaration form and be sent to an agent at the booth or proceed to the baggage claim area.
Most airlines allow you to check-in online 24-hours before your flight. Complete this process, print your ticket at home, sign up for texts about your flight, and skip the lines for a smooth check-in process.
Countries have different size plugs and voltage, which will require you to need a charger adapter. Turn on your phone’s global capabilities, usually for a small charge, and save on roaming charges. Get your carry-on bag in order. If you are unsure of the size and weight of your bag, you may want to check it to be safe. If you have a carry-on, pack an extra set of clothes and some snacks, then sit back and enjoy your flight.
When you are planning your next overseas adventure, these five tips will help you get ready.